Last night’s TV Academy salute to NBC was missing one very important Peacock player: Don Ohlmeyer.
The former West Coast chairman had been set to attend a panel discussion featuring some of the net’s most prominent current and former execs, including Bob Wright, Scott Sassa, Jeff Zucker, Grant Tinker and Warren Littlefield. But Ohlmeyer changed his mind about appearing a few days ago after seeing a copy of “Brought to You in Living Color,” the recently released NBC 75th anni commemorative book.
While Ohlmeyer is widely credited for much of NBC’s stunning primetime success during the 1990s, you wouldn’t know it from reading the Peacock’s official history. Ohlmeyer gets just one brief mention in the 236-page book — and that’s only in a sentence paying homage to NBC supremo Bob Wright’s talent for “knowing how to build a strong executive team.”
By contrast, Ohlmeyer deputy Warren Littlefield gets a half-dozen mentions, sports topper Dick Ebersol gets a whole sidebar article and programming legend Brandon Tartikoff gets a dozen references. Even current West Coast topper Scott Sassa, who now has Ohlmeyer’s job, gets more ink than Ohlmeyer.
When Ohlmeyer saw the book, he decided to skip last night’s event. “This is supposed to be an event that celebrates people who’ve made a significant contribution to NBC. Having looked through the book, I realized that from their perspective, obviously I didn’t,” Ohlmeyer told Daily Variety. “Besides, it’s a long way to drive across the mountain.”
Ohlmeyer said he has no hard feelings over the matter. “It’s their book and it’s their event,” he said.
An NBC spokeswoman wouldn’t comment on the book but did say the network was sorry Ohlmeyer and former NBC programming chief Fred Silverman (who declined an invite) couldn’t attend.
“Both Don and Fred have made invaluable contributions to NBC,” she said. “We wish they could be here with the NBC family.”